65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
This is not my first pool, but it may be my last...
, April 28, 2012
Intex 16 ft. x 32 ft. Rectangular Ultra Frame Swimming Pool Set
Let me start off this review with - This is not my first pool, but it may be my last...
I grew up with an in-ground pool, Dad made me chief chemist and vacuum tech. I learned more about cleaning pools over the years than I would like to know... I swore I would never own one when I grew up until I could pay someone else to clean it and deal with the chlorine each and every day.
This pool does NOT have some of those drawbacks! It is easy to scrub, easy to clean and the chlorine just pretty much takes care of itself! With a pool crawler, I wont even have to vacuum very often!
I have owned several Intex "bag pools" for my kids and have been happy with them for the most part, but we live with cats and chickens - they poke holes in the inflatable ring around the top. There was only so much we could do to keep the animals away from it - they just want a drink of water... With THIS pool, we will not have that constant problem!
Chickens cannot swim, they literally sink like a rock... The cats can, but it is rather comical... Yeah, the pool cover is NOT an "optional accessory" around here...
I wanted something bigger, something better, something we could actually do laps in...
I found this pool on Amazon and it had FREE SHIPPING! I ordered it and Amazon gave me a delivery date of about a week. It arrived on the date they said it would by UPS freight truck. When UPS called the day before, to make sure someone would be home to receive it, I told the dispatcher to send it on a bob-tail lift gate truck. (Normally they drop it off of an 18 wheeler!) It arrived at the time of day they said they would and the driver helped me drop the 620 lb. Package right next to the cleared area in the yard. It made my life so much easier!
We opened up the boxes and checked the parts inventory and everything seemed to be there. I started laying out plastic at 8am the next morning. We laid everything out in sections according to when we would need them. Doing so makes assembly much easier when it is broken up into smaller sections like this.
We ROLLED the monster pool package onto the plastic and ground cloth once they were spread and nailed down with "Landscaping staples" like you use for weed blocker cloth. The pool is HEAVY! It is definitely a 2 man lift - I am old, so we rolled it - NOT dragged it into place in the middle of the plastic on the ground. Folding it out, we had to flip it around a couple of times so the big holes in the side faced AWAY from the house so we wouldn't have to listen to the noise of the pump (it isn't all that bad really...) Putting the pool between us and the noise source makes for a nice noise free sunsets as viewed from our porch... I didn't want to listen to a pump whine as I sat and watched our sunsets with a glass of wine.
Once it was all laid out we started putting together the side and end horizontal beams - these are multi-section pipes that snap into each other. This was easy - stuffing them into the holes in the top of the pool was NOT so easy! Let the sun get the pool vinyl warm, it makes it more flexible and easier to work with. You really need THREE people to stuff those 32 foot long pipes where they need to go. Luckily my kids weren't around to hear my verbal argument with the long pipes - I wanted to strangle some engineer back in China!
We placed concrete paver bricks under all of the legs. Get them where you want them, once you put water in it, good luck trying to budge anything! The pavers will keep the legs from sinking into the soft dirt - and they WILL sink if you don't use pavers! Don't let the sidelegs bow or they WILL buckle. They aren't kidding when they say LEVEL ground! That also includes sinking legs!
Sunset came and went and we literally were out there in the dark getting everything aligned and centered. We were working with flashlights and flood lights to get the wrinkles out of the floor. DO THIS! Get every single wrinkle you possibly can out of the floor before putting a drop of water in it. Once water is in it, you cant move it! About 10:30pm I dropped in two garden hoses and prayed that the 30 mph wind gusts we were having that night didn't blow all our good work into my neighbors pasture!
When I got up in the morning - it still wasn't full... Not even close to it... My little farm water well was probably screaming for mercy about this point... I popped all the legs back into place - some of them moved with the waters weight crushing down upon them.
18 hours after dropping both hoses in, the pool was full. The sides will lean in on you while it is filling, this is normal, even though it looks like it isn't. Keep going around and around and around the pool stressing the legs out as far as they will go - or your sides will be all uneven and you will have to drain some of the water to move them. Move them while you still can!
The next day, I assembled the filter system, as per the instructions and kicked it off into its first cycle. I cleaned up the site and got the wife to stir all that salt until it all dissolved. Of COURSE we had to try it out!
Is it mean of me to laugh when my wife said the water was cold? I laughed until I tried to get in myself... Then, I am embarrassed to say, I screamed like a little girl when certain parts of my body hit the water!
Can you say COLD!?! Yeah, the garden hose is rather chilly... Make that a LOT chilly! 70 degree water after 90 degree heat all day was like stepping off into an ice cube tray! Be aware that water right out of your garden hose can be mighty COLD!!! It will take a few DAYS for it to warm up to something that remotely resembles comfortable! So just be aware of body part shrinkage... :)
Wait a few days before inviting your friends over!!!
All in all - it went together relatively easily! (except for stuffing those 32 ft. long pipes through the little envelope on top of the edge!) With two helpers it took 2 days. 18 hours of that was waiting for it to fill up with water. Get some help, take your time, once this is in, it isn't going anywhere... Do it right the first time!
We are pleased with our purchase. We were pleased it wasn't all that difficult. Although, we all want to slap whoever said it would take 90 minutes to assemble! LOL We can't wait for the sun to warm it up so we can actually use it without our teeth chattering...
Solar heater is next on the list!
Would I recommend this to a friend? YES! But, I would caution them to use several layers of black plastic under it, use paver bricks under the legs, get some strong backs for help and run the water hose off the water heater instead of the chilled well water straight out of the ground... hehehe.
In the Swim Pool Supplies rocks! Delivery was free and quick and the assembly, although longer than the manual said, was relatively easy.
Now I want one of those creepy-crawly bottom sucking automated cleaner thingy's and some solar heater modules and I will be really happy! No more chlorine testing - it takes care of itself! No more adding Acid - it takes care of itself! But I will still have to use the net to get the bugs out - the included skimmer really makes this an easy chore...
If you are thinking about it - do it! If you weren't thinking about it - consider it. This is the easiest to maintain large above ground pool on the market. It is BIG, but it sure beats a small round bag full of water - with a floaty ring around the top!
Next up - decking and accessories!
PS - one more thing - WEAR SUNSCREEN!!! Yeah, some things you learn by making mistakes... :)
*** UPDATE 05/03/2012 ***
The pool has been setup about a week out in the full sun and 90 degree temps every day. The pool water temp has reached 80 degrees FINALLY! That's a 10 degree shift in 7 days. The solar heater and blanket just got moved up on the wish list! The salt water system electrodes have had to be taken out TWICE during this time to dunk them in vinegar to clean off the mineral deposits. We have very hard water here! So you still have maintenance to do - but the vinegar trick isn't too much of a pain, it takes over an hour... So far, except for the electrodes caking up, it has performed flawlessly. One more thing of note - I bought a kreepy crawler Pentair Kreepy Krauly Lil Shark AG Pool Cleaner and set it to work - it makes getting all the dead bugs and sand off the bottom a snap - just let it go for a few hours and no more vacuuming!
*** UPDATE 05/15/2012 ***
The filtration system died 2 days ago. Blank display, no power inside the unit. I called Intex Tech Support and got ahold of someone who barely speaks English and was evidently reading from a script. She wanted to know if all the hose connections were tight and that I had it plugged in - I thought plugging it in was a novel idea - I hadn't thought of that... It took me half an hour to make her understand it was DEAD! She was very difficult to talk to and kept asking what I thought were rather STUPID questions from someone who was supposed to be some sort of pool expert. This person then directed me to a website to complete my "claim". Their website refuses to accept any upload of any kind but they wont process your claim until they get a digital copy of your proof of purchase. So - now I have no filter and no salt water system to keep the pool running. When I called their tech support hotline back (and waited on hold for 48 minutes) to ask how to get this fixed they said my computer must have a virus - really?!? I used to work on this stuff for a living, don't be telling ME how to do my job when you can't even do yours! I have no virus, I can upload to everybody else on the net - but not Intex's website - That tells ME that THEY have a problem they aren't interested in fixing - because it saves them money NOT to satisfy claims.
I called up "In The Swim" and upgraded to the Hayward 21 inch filter and 1.5 hp pump combo. (I am NOT the first person this has happened to!!!) I purchased 2 sets of "40mm to 1.5 inch hose adapters" to make the transition to the US threads on the pump from the old metric hoses. Everything arrived quickly (within 48 hours!) and was setup in less than a couple of hours. It has LOTS more flow than the old Intex piece of junk! Now I will have to spend another $500 on a new in-line saltwater system like the big pools use - oh well... At least I can find replacement parts at my local pool store! I am shopping for this as we speak.
So don't be hoping to get any satisfaction from Intex on any sort of warranty claim OR the pump that didn't even last a MONTH! Do yourself a favor and upgrade to the Hayward system and pitch the Intex filter rig in the trash... Although the sand filter container might make a nice planter for the front porch...
With all this new flow capability I am turning both of the holes in the side of the pool into INTAKE ports and I am piping 1.5 inch output pipes to all four corners in the little gap left by the frame in the corners - and making it so they "jet" the water in a circle for some REAL pool circulation! I will post pics when the system is fully modified - WITH the new filter and notes on how to make this pool work a LOT more efficiently!
The Creepy Crawly bottom sucking cleaner rig is working GREAT on the new filter! It barely functioned on the old Intex filter system - it turned out to be just too weak. It works MUCH better now!
The "sun blanket" we bought works great - it raised our pool temp several degrees after some sunny days. However, until we get the "blanket reel" installed, this thing is a booger bear to handle with only two people. When wet, it weighs a TON! Just simply rolling it up to float at one end of the pool before an evenings swim was enough grueling physical effort for us to just give up and LEAVE IT floating on one end. It is just too much for us to handle without straining muscles. It's probably all that water that gets rolled up with it that makes it so darn heavy - but either way - we can't wait for the "blanket reel" to show up so we can actually USE it more often!
The solar heater cells arrived - I haven't installed them yet as I need to finish the plumbing TO them first... Pics will be posted as soon as I get it all assembled.
All in all, I am happy with the pool, I am VERY happy with the service I have gotten from "In The Swim", I am totally dissatisfied with the Intex pump rig and their customer service that barely speaks English and their website that can't even take their required data so I can file my claim. They have a US address in California but I am absolutely SURE their phones are answered half way around the globe...
If I had known all this and that I would have to spend an extra 2 grand on getting this thing to actually WORK I would have gone with the system my local pool shop was trying to sell me - it would have been the same size, it would have been actually cheaper than this has turned out to be (even though it LOOKED more expensive!) and they have technicians that actually come out to my house to service it! "I" wouldn't have had to do all this work myself...
They have people come out to my house to do WARRANTY work - they have taken care of our Hot tub for years - I WISH I had let them install this monster!
Intex dropped the ball - BIG time... This will be my LAST Intex pool - ever!